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Daily Record 2/8/11: Sinatra & Company-Frank Sinatra (1971)

In 1970s, 1971, Brazilian music, Frank Sinatra, Rich's House of Vinyl on February 9, 2011 at 3:33 am

Today I listened to Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin. Here, I’m going to talk about Sinatra.

Sinatra’s 1971 album, Sinatra and Company, is a very nice example of an album that has very distinct “A” and “B” sides. This is an aspect of vinyl that may have been lost in the transition to compact discs to MP3s: the idea that when you flip the album over, you might get a completely different mood.

Side one of Sinatra and Company includes Brazilian icon Antonio Carlos Jobim among the company, as Sinatra glides his way through a set of tunes written or co-written by Jobim. This album side continues the Brazilian explorations that Sinatra and Jobim documented on their 1967 collaboration, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. It’s a cool, understated set of tunes, such as “Drinking Water (Agua de Beber)” and “Wave,”  that hide all kinds of complexities within their deceptive simplicity.

Flip the album over and it’s a whole different story. Sinatra made periodic excursions into “contemporary pop” or “soft rock” territory. That’s what Side two of Sinatra & Company is all about, with Frank tackling such tunes as “Close To You” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.” Sinatra seems to take these songs more seriously than, say, his hilariously contemptuous version of “Downtown.”  In a surprise move, the highlight of Side B might Ol’ Blue Eyes borrowing Joe Raposo’s “Bein’ Green” from Kermit the Frog. It’s a nice gentle performance that might actually have you thinking about the lyrics a little bit more than you have before.

Still, when it comes to Sinatra and Company, I’ll take Brazil Frank over Soft Rock Frank in a heartbeat.

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